Taylor Swift's Lover is at the top of the charts. The singer's seventh studio album debuted to much success, thanks to her loyal band of listeners, and as is always the case with Swift's albums, her fandom has been spending the time between Aug. 23 (the album's release) and now picking apart Swift's lyrics and analyzing what they could mean. The album's title song, "Lover," has fans thinking that Swift and her longterm boyfriend, Joe Alwyn, could be engaged (or are at least exploring the idea of getting married one day), but another popular song from the album has the fandom wondering about the inspiration behind it. Is Taylor Swift's "Cornelia Street" about Joe Alwyn? The song is all about being in a relationship so good, you fear that it will end.
To start, Swift is most likely referencing her former NYC townhouse in the song, which is located on Cornelia Street in the West Village. Swift lived in the house from 2016 to 2017 while her Tribeca apartment was being renovated. Apparently, during that time, Swift and Alwyn met and fell in love. That tracks, seeing as Swift says in her music they've been dating for three years.
Now, Swifties have a theory that "Cornelia Street" could actually be about Swift's former friendship with model Karlie Kloss, given that back in the heyday of Swift's girl squad, she and Kloss were close friends and would bop around NYC together. Swifties even went as far as to theorize that there was a romance going on between Swift and Kloss, though that theory was never confirmed. The pair appear to have grown apart, considering Swift didn't attend Kloss' two wedding ceremonies and Kloss was seen vacationing with Scooter Braun, whom Swift publicly does not like.
"Cornelia Street" is about fearing a relationship is going to end, so that could very well be a friendship breakup Swift is talking about (that's one of the hardest breakups to go through, tbh). But I'm airing on the side of "Cornelia Street" being about Alwyn. Here's why.
The "Cornelia Street" lyrics are hella romantic. In the first verse, Swift sings about that moment where you've been hanging out with someone all night, then you take the leap and invite them up to your place.
We were in the backseat / Drunk on something stronger than the drinks in the bar / "I rent a place on Cornelia Street" I say casually in the car / We were a fresh page on the desk / Filling in the blanks as we go / As if the street lights pointed in an arrowhead / Leading us home
"I rent a place on Cornelia Street" is something you say to someone you're about to hook up with, which — if you don't buy the Kloss/Swift romance theories — isn't something you'd say to a friend. But a cute British guy you're tryna date? Oh, for sure.
Things get more clear in the second verse. Swift sings,
Windows swung right open, autumn air / Jacket 'round my shoulders is yours / We bless the rains on Cornelia Street / Memorize the creaks in the floor / Back when we were card sharks, playing games / I thought you were leading me on / I packed my bags, left Cornelia Street / Before you even knew I was gone
But then you called, showed your hand / I turned around before I hit the tunnel / Sat on the roof, you and I
In that verse, Swift sings about putting her guard back up after thinking the person she's dating might be leading her on. People play games with each other when they're in the early stages of dating. It be like that sometimes. But then Swift sings about Alwyn being real with her, convincing her to give things another shot. It seems like the rest was history, and Swift and Alwyn ended up falling in love. All of this seemingly happened while Swift was living in the townhouse on Cornelia Street.
In the chorus, Swift sings about hoping this new love never ends. If it does, her memories at Cornelia Street will be ruined. The bridge of the song is all about new beginnings. She sings,
You hold my hand on the street / Walk me back to that apartment / Years ago, we were just inside / Barefoot in the kitchen / Sacred new beginnings / That became my religion, listen
To me, this song is clearly about the early phases of a new relationship and hoping it's the one that sticks. If not, the happy memories in the old house will be tainted by heartbreak. The lines about leading people on and "drunk on something stronger than the drinks in the bar" (it's either love or lust she's talking about there, fam) lead me to believe this is about a romantic relationship, not a friendship.